Brave Ava Stark finally to undergo bone marrow transplant

Brave Ava Stark, from Lochgelly, to undergo bone marrow transplant. Picture: Contributed
Brave Ava Stark, from Lochgelly, to undergo bone marrow transplant. Picture: Contributed
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A THREE year old Scot is to get a life-saving bone marrow transplant after two heartbreaking postponements.

Two hero donors have been found following a worldwide appeal to help Ava Stark from Lochgelly in Fife.

She has now been admitted to Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital to begin chemotherapy and radiation ahead of the operation, expected to take place next week.

An urgent appeal was made earlier this year to save the life of Ava after a potential bone marrow donor has been deemed unfit to donate. It was the second time a matching donor has been unable to donate.

READ MORE: Appeal for more donors after latest Ava Stark, 3, heartbreak

The youngster has a rare blood condition and needs a stem cell transplant or she will die.

Her desperate mum Marie, 33, made a public plea earlier this year, urging people from around the world to get tested as they desperately try to find a life-saving match.

However, a phone call came through last Friday to give Ava new hope prior to Christmas.

Mum Marie said: “We were told we needed to go through to Glasgow last week as Ava needed to get a scan but we didn’t think much about it.

“We just assumed it was more tests and none of the doctors said anything about a new match.

“But on Friday my phone rang and it was the hospital to say they had done all the tests and everything that they needed to do and that they had found two donors who were ready for Ava.

“I told them after the last time that I didn’t want to know that they had found a match until the very last minute in case it fell through.

“I didn’t quite know how to feel – I didn’t want to get my hopes up in case the same thing happened again.

“But these two are both bone marrow donors and they’re new on the registry because they weren’t there when we were looking for one before.

“One is obviously preferred over the other one but they’re both matches so there’s always a back up.

“The main thing they’re worried about the most is the graft-v-host disease where the other person’s body will start to fight Ava or vice versa. But they’ll be keeping a really close eye on her.”

Ava’s chemotherapy and radiation is aimed at killing off her immune system prior to the operation, and she will be kept in isolation for a month

The donor go under general anaesthetic at a London hospital to have the marrow removed from their pelvis using a needle and syringe.

READ MORE: Stem cell donations rocket after Ava Stark appeal

The cells are extracted and couriered to Glasgow.

After Ava’s previous transplants were called off an appeal attracted 80,000 new people willing to add their name to the donor register.

Marie is now urging people to carry on registering as donors for patients still waiting for their own heroes.

She said: “This isn’t just about Ava. There shouldn’t be this horrific situation and hassle trying to find a donor.”